You don't need to have a back yard if you want a smart garden, now that the connected world has caught up with horticulture. In fact, there are handfuls of sensors at the ready which are adept at picking up those key variables like light, temperature, moisture and soil pH conditions.
Sprinkle in a little Wi-Fi, add a touch of Bluetooth and you will be enjoying the fruits with very little labour in no time at all.
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So, whether you're mad keen, a total amateur, live on acres of grassland or in a tower block with not so much as a window box, here's a seed to plant in your mind - the best smart garden devices around.
Husqvarna Automower 450X
Let's start with the biggie - the price tag. Sure, north of $3,000 isn't exactly cheap but the Automower range is the ultimate in smart garden tech luxury. Imagine not having to mow your lawn ever again - anyone with even a small patch of grass will tell you what a ball-ache mowing can be, especially in the summer where bi-weekly trims are often required.
There's nothing back breaking at all about pushing a button on a smartphone or Apple Watch app and letting a robot mower do the hard work. It's not perfect - it occasionally gets stuck around objects like stepping stones and you still might need a strimmer for getting to those hard to reach edges - but the 450x will save you hours and hours walking around pushing a lawnmower.
You'll need to get someone in to install the hidden wire that keeps the Automower on track, and you'll need an outside power point for the charging station but that's about it for the hassle stakes.
The Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 is the most affordable way to have your very own garden indoors.
All you have to do is insert the plant capsules, fill up the water tank and plug it in. And that's pretty much it. The company says its developed a 'Smart Soil' that works in tandem with built-in sensors to make sure your plants get the optimal configuration of water, oxygen and nutrients.
You can also track the growth with a companion app and set reminders to refill the water tank - which you don't have to do for a whole month. The LED light stand is also adjustable to match plant growth
There are refillable seed packets you can buy for an extra $50 once your current batch is too big. You also get nine packs that will last you a whole year so we're not complaining about spending the extra coin.
Edyn smart garden sensor
There are a few connected soil sensors out there for your smart garden but Edyn has the richest feature set of them all. Plunge it into your beds and it measures the moisture, pH, temperature, light levels, nutrients and humidity that your plants will be enjoying. It sends all that info back to a mobile app for a full analysis of your back yard's conditions and, therefore, both what the best greenery to grow might be as well as how to look after them on a daily basis.
Edyn's solar powered, so no need to worry about batteries, and it has bank of over 5,000 plants in its botanical repertoire. The only point to consider is that it will need to be in range of your Wi-Fi router to work.
Pets, decorative plants or a herb garden; Biopod is the indoor microclimate that can grow it all at your app's behest. It smashed its Kickstarter target in 2015 and is now available in a whole series of different models including a $1,200 Grand option.
Biopod controls temperature, light, humidity, ventilation and rainfall inside that fish tank-sized space and will create a habitat suitable for whatever kind of species you'd care to support. So, no matter if it's blowing a gale in your garden, you can still have your sub-tropicana paradise blooming inside.
Thus far, Biopods have shipped out to Kickstarter backers. Later this year, they'll start being available in stores for purchase. While Biopod hasn't exactly said which stores yet, it does promise its website will be updated with more information in the coming months.
From $225, biopod.com
Robomow RS635 Pro SX
You grow it, it mows it; and all without the slightest effort on your part. There is quite the glut of robot lawnmowers these days and, while it's going to depend a little on your garden size as to which model you plump for, one of the better brands out there is Robomow.
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Top of the pile with the ability to cover nearly an acre of land in as many cutting zones as you like is the Robomow RS635 Pro SX. Along with anti-theft and child safety features, it includes a rain sensor so that it can mow at optimum times and a mobile app with which you can send instructions as well as check in on where it's at with its program. Pricey but fun.
For those gardens where walking around with a watering can just won't cut it, this smart sprinkler controller gives you full control from your smartphone wherever you are and could cut your water bill by as much as 50% in the process.
The Wi-Fi enabled setup is able to adjust sprinklers based on soil type, and exposure to the sun, turning them on only when your garden really needs them. It'll read weather pattens, humidity levels and remains switched off when the rain is doing the work for you. The second generation Rachio also integrates with Nest and Amazon Echo so you can even tell Alexa to turn them off when your lawn has already had a good enough soak.
Think Philips Hue for the outdoors and you've got the right mental place for Playbulb Garden. They're solar powered LED light pods, much like you might see in all sorts of forms these days, but the important distinction with this lot is that you can app-control them thanks to a cheeky Bluetooth connection to your phone.
Group them together or not and then select just which ones you'd like to colour your mood. Naturally, they're water resistant enough for whatever the weather throws at them too.
GreenIQ Smart Garden
Households with garden irrigation systems might want to listen up. GreenIQ is the name to look out for and this company has come up with a smart garden hub which taps into the weather reports to work out exactly when and how much it needs to water your plants. If it's about to chuck it down, then there's no pointing in wasting your money on unnecessary bills.
You can retro-fit the Smart Garden Hub to any irrigation system that you've got and it'll also work hand-in-hand with a few soil sensors and the like too. Plus, there's a decent set of IFTTT recipes for it as well. Naturally, there's also a mobile app to go with it.
Back to the urban gardener and we'd like to recommend the Plantui 6 as the connected hydroponics set up of choice. Plantui has been in the game a while and has figured out that the size of your crop is, in fact, rather important. As such, its most recent model's grow lamps are height-adjustable to accommodate your plants all the way from seedlings up until harvest with the intensity and colour of the illumination changing as the system dictates is optimal for the greenery underneath.
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There's no need to know anything about gardening. Pop the plant capsules in along with the water and the Plantui app will sort out the rest. Cucumbers, chillies, flowers, whatever you like; and all for nice, low electricity costs too.
Netatmo Weather Station
Say hello to the 21st century's take on home meteorology. The Netatmo Weather Station's goal is to tell you everything you could possibly know about your home and garden microclimates. There are units for both indoors and outdoors which report back to your phone on variables like temperature, pressure, humidity, CO2 levels, noise pollution and even the likes of wind and precipitation fineries if you pick up the right add-ons.
The software then analyses all that data, presents pretty graphs and gives you real-time accounts; plus all the environmental trends a gardener could need to figure out what to plant, when to plant it and how to best take care of them all. You can also buy a whole bunch of additional sensors, like a rain or wind gauge, to add even more data. Michael Fish, eat your heart out.